TJ McKenna got his start as an animal behaviorist and is now an extreme hoarder of NGSS resources (which we know to be scarce). This may have stemmed from his undergraduate research where he conceived and designed experiments on deceptive and theft-averting behaviors of food-caching Eastern Grey Squirrels - hoarders of a different kind. This later eventually led to a Masters degree in Entomology, and he is currently a professor at Boston University focused on Science Education, and a lead facilitator for the NGSX project (NGSX.org).
TJ first commented on early drafts of NGSS and became very interested in education because of the way the Next Generation Science Standards capture what it is like to think like a scientist in authentic ways. Now, drawing on his background as a research scientist and his 7 years of on-air television work, phenomena has become a major way he engages students and teacher learners (both pre-service & in-service) with core science ideas that they want to figure out. Because the NGSS reflect how TJ thinks about science, he hopes that through curating a cache of phenomena this will open conversations and with educators across the nation who are hoping to create the next generation of student engagement in science.
Chris Zieminski has over 17 years of experience as both a wildlife researcher and a science educator. When he was conducting field-based research, he focused his efforts on employing non-invasive genetic techniques to monitor threatened and endangered species and their response to habitat disturbances. As he transitioned to the classroom, he co-instructed undergraduate courses in land use and taught secondary life and earth science. Additionally, he has had the opportunity to work with classroom teachers, instructional coaches, and administrators from over 50 districts throughout Connecticut as these schools transition to the NGSS.
As a result, Chris has extensive experience supporting educators with the development of lessons designed to meet the intent of the Next Generation Science Standards. He facilitates a variety of workshops, including the NGSX: Next Generation Science Exemplar and Assessment Design to Support NGSS Instruction. His work focuses on collaborating with teachers to bring new learning and strategies to their classrooms.
Chris holds a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Vermont, a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, and he has co-authored several articles published in peer reviewed journals.